Carsten Linke was a valued youth coach in Weilheim, Germany, a quiet town surrounded by the Alps. He was sometimes strict with his charges, but their parents valued him for being fair and never favoring one over the other. Therefore, they were very disappointed when, due to an alleged professional promotion, he had to leave his job as a coach and move to the German capital – Berlin. Some, however, were surprised that the guy who created himself a soldier and 95 percent. time he talked only about football, he left the young players alone without warning.
The German coach spied for Russia. He was at the center of a huge scandal
At some point late last year, Linke stopped showing up at Weilheim altogether. It quickly became clear what the reason was, and it turned out to be unprecedented and even shocking.
German police arrested Carsten Linke, who was a high-ranking member of the German intelligence service BND, for treason, being a double agent and spying for Russia. Linke allegedly passed on “highly sensitive information” to the Russian FSB intelligence agency, becoming the central figure in Europe’s biggest spy scandal in recent years. The 52-year-old is currently in a German prison. He is punishable by imprisonment from five years to even life imprisonment.
After a successful career in the German army, Linke was offered a job in the German foreign intelligence service BND, which he took advantage of. He went to the communications department, whose task is to intercept communications of foreign countries. He originally worked in Pullach, 30 kilometers from Weilheim, but in 2019 he was called to the agency’s newly opened headquarters in the capital Berlin.
He was a valuable prey for Moscow. Was it money or political sympathies?
How Carsten Linke allegedly provided Moscow with valuable information was not disclosed. Some, however, even link it to his activities at the TSV Weilheim club, where the 52-year-old coached youth aged 7-14. Journalists discovered that although his work in Berlin prevented him from devoting himself to the club as before, he and his wife organized social events at the club.
It was at one of them, during an inconspicuous barbecue in 2021, that he was supposed to meet Arthur E., a businessman with a past in the German army (like Linke), who was detained in recent days for being a Moscow courier. Arthur E. was born in Russia but moved to Germany as a child. However, the 31-year-old ended his career in the armed forces in 2015, successfully devoting himself to business.
E. allegedly admitted to traveling to Moscow in October and November to hand over documents to FSB agents. He was to receive an envelope with a considerable amount of money. However, he told prosecutors that he had been deceived by Linke that he was on a secret mission for the German government.
Everything indicates that it was a hoax, and it is possible that E. appeared at the aforementioned barbecue only because he was already paid by the Kremlin and was supposed to make contact with Linke. Due to his promotion in the BND, the German coach had access to sensitive intelligence shared by Western intelligence agencies, which made him a valuable prey for Russia.
– This is a position that was really interesting for the Russians because they could use the basic information they gathered about the BND agents against them. The rank he had at his age meant that he could take up one of the four most important positions in the agency before retiring, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, an expert in the German intelligence services, told the Daily Telegraph.
In addition to the financial motive, it is speculated that the reason for Linke’s cooperation with Moscow was also politics. The coach allegedly sympathized with the far-right German AfD party, which is demanding immediate peace talks with Russia. Another TSV Weilheim coach reportedly found AfD brochures in his locker at the club.
German intelligence can burn with shame. Linke was wary, but he was exposed
The intelligence information that Linke was supposed to pass to Moscow concerned, among other things, the war in Ukraine. On their basis, the Kremlin was supposed to find out how Western intelligence agencies tapped Russian communications. So far, it has not been confirmed whether Linke was also supplying information from other Western agencies, but journalists are already speculating that this serious incident will raise considerable doubts about the exchange of intelligence information with Germany.
Whether other BND agents assisted Linke in this process is still being investigated. More likely, however, is the theory that other agents were deceived by the 52-year-old for this purpose. Prosecutors believe that Linke may have contracted some of his colleagues to unknowingly help him commit the crime. On the computer of one of the agents, compromising data was reportedly found in this case, while another agent was supposed to help Arthur E. go through customs after returning from Moscow.
Interestingly, the inhabitants of Weilheim remember Linke to this day as a man extremely involved in the football club, which is the pride of the city. His teammates were convinced that when Linke went on long trips, it was because of his military career.
“It was only after his arrest that we noticed that a club photo of his face could never be found. He was, of course, very careful, one of the coaches was to admit. DNB probably thought much the same, as Linke’s cover was blown by one of the foreign intelligence agencies, which exposes German intelligence even more.
sources: Daily Telegraph / watoday.com.au.
Tristin is an accomplished author and journalist, known for his in-depth and engaging writing on sports. He currently works as a writer at 247 News Agency, where he has established himself as a respected voice in the sports industry.